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OM SYSTEM "Adventure" Photography Competition - Winners Announced



Alasdair Chapman - Antarctic Crevasse

"60 feet below ground into the black crevasse on Hut Point Peninsula, Ross Island. Mirror smooth walls and piercingly cold temperatures with thinly sound being the deep resonating cracks through the ice."

Guest Judge Matt Horspool's Comments

"For most sane people, plunging into a crevasse isn't exactly high on their bucket list. Still, this winning image of Alasdair's encompasses all the aspects of a perfectly shot adventure image and immediately gives off a sense of mystery and awe.

Knowing that Alasdair is himself, down the Crevasse taking this image, only makes his capture all the more special. Not only has Alasdair encapsulated a sense of adventure in his subject, but he also encompasses what an adventure photographer must do to take a winning image.

There is a real mystery around this shot - How did the subjects get to be there? What happens if they slip and fall? How small is the gap to get down there?

I love how the light source is illuminating the scene from behind the subjects, with the falloff gradually reaching small sections of the ice wall before ending in darkness. This creates a natural vignette that focuses our eyes on the centre of the frame. The subjects are composed well within the scene, and a sense of minimalism is exaggerated through the use of a wide focal length.

Upon studying the image further, I also noticed the small beams of light rising from the bottom of the frame. Perhaps other members of the party are yet to join the main subjects?

The colours of Alasdair's image really pop. While rich and colourful, the processing is not over the top and remains true to this environment. Simple, yet effective in its execution. This would look awesome as a double-page spread in an adventure magazine.

Congratulations, Alasdair; I'd love to join you on your next ice adventure."

More About Alasdair

"Im Al and I have been living in Queenstown with my wife for 7 years, recently joined by our daughter in May. Originally from Wales, we came over and immediately fell in love with the vast mountain-scapes. I'd always enjoyed Landscape photography capturing shots across our travels through Europe and Asia. I spend most of my winters on the ski fields often taking my camera and quickly became captivated by snow and ice. I've been a chef for 12 years and in recent years I worked on an expedition vessel sailing out of Bluff down to the Sub Antarctic Islands including Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, Macquarie Island and Antarctica itself. A privileged opportunity to experience many varied landscapes and wildlife encounters. This work led to me spending two summers at Scott Base, Antarctica. These experiences fortified my love for landscape and wildlife photography."

Why did you choose this image to enter?

I chose this image as it is one of my most memorable moments on the ice, a very disconcerting feeling being inside the crevasse listening to the sounds of the ice moving around me and the dark oblivion below.

Is there a story behind this image?

In order to take this image I had to squeeze through a narrow gap at the surface and abseil 60 feet through the darkness onto a small ledge below. As my eyes slowly adjusted the colours and vast size of the crevasse became clear. From the abseil ledge the crevasse swept off following a sweeping curve for 400 feet into the deep blues. I took this image from about 150 feet in. At the surface the ambient temperature was around -10°C, in the crevasse the temp would have been closer to -30°C. A challenge for the cameras battery as well as my body warmth, I was constantly moving my feet to retain warmth as even my ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) boots feeling the chill.

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image?

Taking the image was a challenge due to the low light levels and as I couldn’t use a tripod I ended up wedging myself between both sides of the crevasse to steady myself for the shot, at the time I had no idea what the result would be like due to time restrictions and the outside weather (I was unable to check the images as my bulky ECW gloves didn’t permit me to use camera buttons properly).

Were there any other favourite photos or highlights from this adventure?

I will never forget the eerie silence broken by deep thunderous cracks of the ice, the endless blackness below and the radiant blues created by the limited light shining through the entry hole. Being inside that crevasse was an incredibly sobering experience, I could have sat there for hours listening but at the same time couldn’t wait to climb out to the surface.

View more of Alasdair's work here!



Donna Jennings - Final River Crossing

"Taken at the final river crossing at the Karapoti Classic Mountain Bike race in March 2023. 1/500s at F4.5, 125mm"

Guest Judge Matt Horspool's Comments

"While it's easy to gravitate towards a wide-angle lens when capturing adventure scenes, it takes a keen eye, excellent timing and being in the right position to capture human emotion within a frame using a telephoto lens.

I love how Donna has captured the rider's facial expression, depicting a sense of humour with a slight smirk, potentially thinking of just how crazy of a situation she is currently in. What causes a person to wade through a cold river and ride through splattering mud? Is it a quest to beat other competitors or perhaps to accomplish something within themselves? These are the questions I find myself asking while looking at Donna's image.

Shooting from the subject's eye level is a great way to place the viewer into the action. It almost feels as if we are standing in the water ourselves, looking back at this competitor hot on our heels. Donna has utilised a great focal length that makes the subject pop and isolates her within the landscape while maintaining enough detail to see other competitors behind her.

Donna has chosen a natural colour grade for this image, which I think works very well and doesn't detract from the purpose of the picture – to capture the emotion of the race. Her exposure is spot on, as is her focus and composition. Well done, Donna!"

More About Donna

"I live in Wellington and became interested in photography when travelling overseas about 10 years ago. I enjoy exploring all genres, but have a particular love for wildlife and sports."

Why did you choose this image to enter?

I chose this image because of the sheer determination shown on the face of the rider. She was just moments behind the leader and chose a rather deep route through the final river crossing, and needed to carry her bike high over her head. I suspect there was some disappointment at realising that she would not get there first.

Is there a story behind this image?

I was patiently waiting for the first women to arrive at the river crossing, hoping for some drama at the crossing. The water was particular deep in places and at the end of the 50km race in very wet conditions. The riders were muddy, wet and presumably tired. I placed myself as near and as low to the river, and waited.

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image?

It had been raining all day, so shooting in low, grey light.

Were there any other favourite photos or highlights from this adventure?

While this one was a particular favourite, I did have a few other favourites from the day capturing the diversity of the riders - young and old, beginners to professionals, with them all converging at the river crossing to finish their race.

Do you have any other hobbies/interests?

While i have a passion (perhaps obsession) for photography, i have other creative interests including painting, knitting and sewing. I also have an interest in conservation and protecting the land and wildlife of Aotearoa.



Paddy Edmondson - One Last Run

"As we sat at a camp after a long day shooting and the lads riding hard all day, I noticed the twilight was lighting the face behind us perfectly. I have always wanted to get a long exposure of a snowboarder riding down. So without any hesitation Ryan threw his hands up and said he would do it, so as he shot off on the sled I set my camera up and had the shutter sitting at 30 seconds and then all the elements aligned and we got the shot.

30 secs f11 ISO 800"

Guest Judge Matt Horspool's Comments

A lot goes into making a great adventure image, and Paddy has hit the nail on the head for planning and dedication with this excellent shot. I love how he creatively utilised a long shutter to create this light trail of the athlete down the slope.

With these types of shots, you often only get one opportunity to nail it before the light disappears. Backcountry runs like these take time and effort to ascend, not to mention a skilled athlete to navigate the descent.

Paddy appears to have worked in a small team to coordinate everything and ensure all the elements are aligned.

I love the soft pink light hitting the faces from the left, creating alternating pockets of contrast as we move across the frame. This is also a great example of how a skilled photographer can break the conventional ‘Rule of Thirds’ and place the leading lines of the mountains higher than a beginner might choose to compose.

The high angle at which this image was shot makes me feel like I’m sitting right there with Paddy, witnessing the shot build before my eyes. I can feel the excitement as the shutter finishes its exposure. Great work, Paddy!

More About Paddy

"My name is Paddy Edmondson, I am originally from Northern Ireland but have been living in New Zealand for the past 7 years. My passion for photography started when I was working as a diving instructor in Cairns, Australia. My favourite style of photography is adventure photography and underwater photography."

Why did you choose this image to enter?

I chose this image for the competition because I feel it tells a story very well.

Is there a story behind this image?

I image idea has been in my head for a few years. This was not a staged image it was simply perfect timing when all the elements aligned together and somewhat luck. There was a lot of stress at the time due to the fleighting light and getting the timing perfect for the riders run and exposure time.

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image?

The most challenging part of the image when getting the correct exposure and time for the rider starting the run and finishing at the bottom, I had around 40 seconds to get my exposure correct before Ryan started his run.

Were there any other favourite photos or highlights from this adventure?

This was a 3 day long snowboard trip in the Pisa Range, so i came away with some very cool shots from some pretty epic riders.

Do you have any other hobbies/interests?

I have many hobies including surfing, mountaineering, spearfishing and snowboarding all that involve my camera. Anything adventurous and difficult i enjoy to shoot.

View more of Paddy's work here!



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